Healthy Teeth and Gums: Bad Habits to Break Posted on February 8, 2023 (February 8, 2023) by Vlahos Cosmetic & General Dentistry As humans, we form habits throughout our lives, some of which can be detrimental to our oral health. Poor oral habits can lead to pain, problems, and high dental costs to correct. If you want to keep your teeth for a lifetime, it’s essential to maintain excellent oral hygiene, regular dental check-ups, and good oral habits. Here are eight habits to avoid for a healthier smile.Nail BitingBiting your nails not only spreads bacteria from under your nails but can also crack, chip, or fracture your teeth, leading to jaw pain over time.Instead: Apply bitter-tasting nail polish and work on reducing stress levels. Being aware and calming your anxiety can keep your nails and teeth in great shape.Brushing HarshlyHarsh brushing can hurt your teeth and gums instead of cleaning them. It can wear down tooth enamel and irritate the gums, causing receding gums and exposing dentin.Instead: Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush, gently massaging your teeth. This will clean your teeth without damaging them.Clenching and GrindingClenching your jaw and grinding your teeth, known as bruxism, can harm your teeth and jaw, wearing down enamel and causing pain, joint pain, or even chipped or fractured teeth. Instead: Practice relaxation techniques to relieve jaw stress and wear a custom night guard while sleeping.Chronic SnackingContinuously snacking or drinking sweetened beverages can harm your teeth by feeding harmful oral bacteria, leading to plaque and tartar buildup. Instead: Stay hydrated with clean water to protect your teeth and prevent dry mouth by providing saliva with the solution it needs to clear out oral debris and bacteria.Heavy DrinkingDrinking alcohol regularly can increase plaque levels in your mouth and lead to tooth loss, as it reduces saliva flow, leading to dry mouth. Instead: Limit your alcohol intake and drink plenty of water in between to stay hydrated.Ice ChewingChewing on ice cubes can damage your teeth, causing cracks and chips, especially when done habitually. Rubbing your teeth and ice together can cause tooth damage and harm dental fillings. Instead: Drink your beverages through a straw, and chill them in the refrigerator beforehand to avoid accidentally chewing on ice.TobaccoTobacco not only stains your teeth but also inflames your salivary glands, leading to bad breath, gum disease, jaw bone density loss, and oral cancer. Instead: Find a smoking cessation support program to quit tobacco and protect your teeth, gums, and lungs.Misusing TeethYour teeth are for chewing food, not tearing off tags, opening chips, or holding pens.Instead: Use your teeth for biting and chewing food and the correct tools for everything else.Take extra care of your smile to reap the benefits of healthy teeth, longer-lasting dental work, and a more beautiful smile! Dr. Vlahos Family Dentistry encourages you to make oral health a priority. Contact us today for a checkup and we’ll be sure to guide you in the right direction! You can cook your checkup right online!